Wednesday, June 26, 2013

5 Favorties, Vol. 12

Sharing some of my favorite things this week, and joining with Hallie and all the other rose-colored glasses wearers.

1. Dutch ovens --They are probably my most favoritest kitchen tool. Yes, I like the convenience of a slow cooker, but nothing beats the taste of a low-slow cooked oven stew or homemade, simmered soup. I'm a Le Creuset girl, but any Dutch oven is better than no Dutch oven. Happiness is drooling over the display at Williams-Sonoma.


2. Thyme -- Lalalala. "Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme." Lalala. Anyway, fresh herbs certainly make a big difference in cooking, but I particularly love fresh thyme. Bonus: it's the only herb that I've been able to consistently keep alive for more than 1.5 microseconds.


3. Ice Cream -- Nothing says summer like frozen treats. Now, I'm admittedly girl who will almost never say no to ice cream, but there is a carton of strawberry in my dad's freezer that is calling my name and harkening back to my childhood.


4. Coffee -- Yeah, I know that this isn't exactly earth-shattering news around these parts. However, Clare is up with the sun and the chirping birds up here in the magical land of "forest." I am definitely drinking more caffeine than I should. Hey, I'm on vacation, right?!? At least that's what I'm telling myself!

My kinda cup. Via

5. Clare and Puppy --Watching Clare fall (more) completely in love with "ba puppy" while we're here has been 1 part adorable, 1 part heart-warming, 1 part infuriating (that's the feeding my dinner to the puppy part). Just to clarify, my dad's dog is not, in fact, a puppy, but a fully grown yellow lab.

 I looooooove you, Puppy!
Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Really Good Chicken

I had no intention of writing a recipe post. I don't know how I feel about recipe posts, generally. I enjoy playing in the kitchen. There is something therapeutic about chopping veg and simmering stock. Stews and soups are totally my comfort foods. But, this isn't a food blog, and I'm not a particularly original cook. I dunno. My other problem is that I cook pretty much by instinct rather than recipe, even when I have a recipe in front of me. Is that more or less helpful? I dunno.

I digress. Shocking. I know.

Since I didn't plan on writing this as a recipe post, 1) my recipe has no name, and 2) there is only this lame picture of my dinner plate. (Ahem, classy. Je sais.) Apologies for the lack of mediocre food shots.

Food photography is my real calling. Clearly.

The food was, however, so good that I need to record the cooking and subsequent devouring of it for posterity.

***Disclaimer. This made enough food for 2 adults and a baby.  Anyone with more mouths would need to do some multiplication.

Chicken (I used 3 legs, 'cause we had them. I think most anything would work)
Carrots (I used about 5 of the small ones I picked up the other day)
Onion (I used two smalls ones, but would normally use a large one)
Tomatoes (I used about a pint of fresh frozen tomatoes. A can of tomatoes or a few fresh ones would probably be okay, too.)
Garlic (I used a spoonful of the jarred stuff.)
1-ish cup white wine (I used the bottom of a bottle of Chardonnay. The top of a bottle would work well, too.)
Thyme (I used a sprig of fresh. The best.)
Seasonings to taste

I got the ol' oven cranked to about 300. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, I browned the chicken in a little oil. Once that was done, I removed the chicken and deglazed the pot with the white wine and reduced it to about 1/2 in volume.

This is when Charles called in from the deck, asking if I was cooking with beer. We were off to a fantastic start.

I added everything else: the chopped veg, the tomatoes, and some garlic and thyme. I seasoned it with seasoned salt and pepper. I put the chicken back into the mix and added enough water to about 3/4 up the veg/chicken mix. I brought the whole thing to a boil, covered it and put it in my now-hot oven.

I let it cook for about 3 hours. By then, there was very little liquid, but the food was very tender and caramelized.

And it tasted great!

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 28

Saturday edition of Friday's Quick Takes Extravaganza with Jen and the rest.

We're house-and-dog sitting for my dad for the next week. We're miles away from the fire. The air is cool. Life is good. I'm loving our little getaway already.

We were given very specific instructions:

1. Feed and play with "the puppy."

 2. {Study for Step 2 -- blegh!}

3. Water the garden. Eat as much lettuce as we can.

4. {So Clare and I hit the Farmer's Market this morning to add to our fresh veggie riches.}

5. Have coffee on the porch.

6. And cocktails on the Adorondak chairs.

7. And dinner on the deck.

It's a tough life, but if someone's gotta live it, I'll accept the challenge!

Have a lovely weekend, and be sure to visit Conversion Diary for more!

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Face of Fatherhood

A real father volunteers to make an early morning Pedialyte run and comes home from Walgreen's with a whole bag of options.

Then he takes care of his sick little girl so that Mama can get ready and go to Mass. He uses it as a rare chance to let the baby sleep on his chest.

Even though it's Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 27

Linking up with Jen and the Conversion Diary Crew for 7 Quick Takes. 'Cause it's Friday, that's why.

1. Tomorrow is my little sister's birthday. We were not particularly close growing up, but now I can honestly say that she's one of my best friends. We talk pretty much every weekday, and I really don't know what I'd do without her. Happy Birthday, Whitters! (Also, you are not 27, because that is too old. 7 I could handle. 17 well, it was 17. But 27? You're like a real grown-up and stuff.)

Looking gorgeous on her wedding day

2. Anyway, she just got a surprise for her birthday -- my dad and his SO drove to San Diego to visit her. Even though I knew, I had a little too much fun encouraging her speculation earlier about what was arriving between 2 and 4 pm. Masseuse? Cable guy? Creepy cable guy slash masseuse?

2 lucky gals. No creepy cable guys.

3. I had a very, very scary and traumatic experience with some sort of beetle (thank goodness it wasn't a roach) at lunch today. I was talking to Charles on the phone and making soup when it butt-wiggled its way out of the non-garbage disposal drain in the kitchen sink. I have lived in this house for 6 years now and have never seen a large bug. I was not excited for that to change with a crawling/cruising little monster who likes to put stuff in her mouth. Jen's scorpion drama took on a whole new level of meaning. No pictures. I know you're sad.

4. Picture break. Someone was less than thrilled with the broccoli cauliflower medley. Mostly the broccoli part.

5. Yesterday, I had one of those moments when I realized how quickly June was going to disappear. Then it would be July. And July, August, September and October are sure to be Krazee-town and thus flyyyyyy by. I just really want to push pause. Then I count how many disastrous diaper-and-outfit-changes I've done this week and wonder what I'm thinking.

Feeling all sappy about treasuring these moments.

6.Thanks to personal experience -- once being evacuated and once watching a small fire being fought across the street from my dad's while our carport was being hosed down -- there is nothing scarier than forest fires. I seriously used to have nightmares. *shudder* Meaning my prayers are with Colorado, hardcore.

7. Happy Father's Day! Happy Weekend! Stay cool and hydrated! Or safe and dry! Or whatever being smart in your neck of the woods looks like this weekend!

Repeat? Oh well.

I'm sure you can find people with less filler at Jen's. Off with you, now.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

5 Favorites, Vol. 11

Joining Hallie to share with you some of my favorite things!

1. The perfect sandwich -- For the last couple of weeks, my go-to lunch has been a panini-pressed ham and Swiss on a French roll. Add some fruit, and I'm a happy camper. In addition to being tasty, it carries me back to my French study abroad happiness. Bliss. And when lunch is bliss, that's saying something.

2. Party planning -- My sister and I had a long planning meeting phone conversation talking about Miss Clare's birthday party at the end of the month! I love hostessing, and she loves decorating, so together, we're a pair to be reckoned with. I can't believe how close my American Girl is to turning one. Yes, I am having a patriotic themed birthday party. Yes, I'm crazy.

3. Father's Day -- I am not fond of being the center of attention, but I love celebrating everyone else! I'm excited to spoil Charles this weekend, after getting myself spoiled to the core a month ago.


4. Summer fruit -- I feel like I'm about 30 years behind the curve on this one. Everyone always loves summer fruit, but I didn't really catch on until last summer. I mean, I liked it okay, I guess, but now, I get it.  Like I get it. Last year, I thought it was a pregnancy thing -- and the volume of fruit consumed certainly was -- but I'm enjoying it again this summer! sweet, juicy and refreshing!


5.  My new sweet baby cousin -- My cousin, Alison, had her baby! I don't have any pictures yet, and I won't get to meet him until this afternoon. But there is not much better or more favoritey than a brand new, born this morning baby!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

11 (those are TWO ones!) months

A year in less than a month? Gulp. A birthday party in a couple of weeks? What to the what?

So, at 11 months, Clare:

- is talking up a storm. She has four or five occasionally discriminate words, depending on the day. "Baby" was her first official word.

- has four teeth, the bottom center pair and two fangs. Her two front teeth are bothering her, but have not yet made an appearance.

- is standing, pulling up and cruising with confidence! Independent walking right around a year? I think so.

- is too smart for her our own good.

- is a great eater! She loves food. Loves it.

- loves exploring and discovering.

- loves books, her puppy, her baby, and her phone.

- is taking two consistent naps and sleeping through the night (knock on wood).

- did not enjoy modeling for Mama, but I still managed to get some keepers!

Still flexible

Goofy teeth and goofy tongue

Ballerina/bow removal

How much longer?

I have a bow!

Clapping, laughing and showing off the teeth

I'm done.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday Best - vol. 2

Linking up with Grace et al to commiserate share how Clare did at Mass. It feels so liberating to grade her.

As an added bonus, you get a mediocre hall/closet mirror selfie of my outfit!

Shirt: Old Navy, several years ago
Skirt: Off brand from Last Chance, $5 several years ago (I've definitely gotten my money's worth!)
Shoes: Dillard's (they are actually my wedding shoes, so 2 years ago)
Ability to pass for a high school student: God
Laundry spilling out of the closet: actually got done yesterday

While I really like the skirt, it really does look cuter (and more like an adult is wearing it) with a cardigan. But the print is so summery, that my opportunities to wear it with a cardigan are limited, because, in June, in Phoenix, a cardigan outdoors while carrying my little personal space heater is just so not happening. First world problems, I know.

Speaking of my little personal space heater, she was actually a very good girl at mass, just some babbling (and announcing that she found another "BABY!"), but age-appropriate. That said, she gets major points deducted for an enormous, disgusting poopy diaper (and everything else) while walking from the parking lot to the chapel.

Grade: B

And since I have my outfit, I'm going crazy and linking up with the lovely ladies at Fine Linen and Purple, too.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 26

Linking up with Jen and the other Quick Takers.

1. Charles' graduation is officially one year from yesterday! 364 days. Not that anyone is counting or anything. We're going to this year's graduation later this morning -- Charles is really excited, and I'm being a good wife. Needless to say, next year will be a very different story.


2. Yesterday, he rocked (I can say that because he felt good about it, which is rare for him as a test-taker, so I am confident saying as much) his professional exam. I'm a proud wife, too.

3. Meanwhile, yesterday was one of those mornings. I hadn't slept well because Charles was in Philly for his test. The baby woke up early, clearly with teething problems, since she was crying and pathetically holding her mouth. So sad. I thought I had a chance to get her back to sleep when the sprinklers for the back yard started -- and one of the drip ends blew, sending water allllllllllllll over the patio for a 4-or-whatever minute cycle. When that was done, we were up. I was glad for coffee. Leaving it at that.

Random baby pic to break up the talk-talk-talk

4. Grace has this cool link-up of people's favorites posts from their own blogs. I spent a lot of my waiting-for-hubby-to-get-home time last night reading through the entries. It's gives a real feeling of what a blog and person are about when you see the favorite posts. I linked this one, which I actually just hit publish on yesterday, but am proud of. I also thought about this one about Mother's Day and this one about motherhood. I don't know. I feel weird being publicly proud of my writing. Not all of it, certainly. But some of it.

5. I love the goal-setting energy of the 30 Under 30 lists that I've seen popping up around the ol' www. I would consider it, but that ship has sailed. 30 Under 40? 40 Under 40? Is 40 really the next milestone? Does 40 seem this old to all early 30s types? Cue existential crisis.

6. Do you ever get to Take 4 or 5 or 6 (or 2 or 3) and, running low on ideas scroll through your camera/phone to see if you have any unblogged photos to use as filler? Just me? Okay. That didn't just happen.

Any-way, a couple of weeks ago, we harvested our first tomatoes of the year. We aren't 100% happy with the quality, but we're happy to have them. We made some beginners mistakes that we won't repeat. All of that said, there is some real pride in food that you actually grew. Yourself. *happy sigh*

7. I don't know if you've been following Dweej's saga, but she needs prayers, so if you're willing, I know she'd appreciate it.

Have a most lovely weekend!

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